Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Last weekend we had the opportunity to take part in the Community Radio Hub at the BBC Radio 3 Free Thinking Festival at the Sage, Gateshead. This was both nerve-wracking and huge fun; nerve-wracking because we had to submit plans for the programmes more than a month in advance and because the BBC were building the studio. Huge fun because live radio is always huge fun and this was a wonderfully special occasion. Both shows were uploaded before the festival finished and are available on

The theme of the festival was change - so our first broadcast in our usual Friday slot was on outer change; changes in the city, changes from the ways things were when we were growing up - After an interview with Matthew Dodd, head of speech at BBC Radio 3 on the upcoming delights at the festival, we did a short tribute to Wilfred Owen, who had been killed on 4 November 1918 - just days before the end of the war. After this we had invited the 'Daughters of Tyne' with whom we made a programme a few months ago - Catherine Graham and Yvonne Young read from their collections of poems about growing up in the Newcastle area. This show we called 'The Changes that Change Us'.

 Catherine Graham and Yvonne Young at the NE1fm studio

On Saturday we welcomed Mandy Maxwell and AJ McKenna to speak about their personal changes; Mandy having battled through anorexia and mental health issues, AJ who is on the brink of gender reassignment, a journey which has been an ongoing process for many years while struggling to be 'normal' and finally 'coming out' as wanting to stop the charade and be who ze feels ze is.
We'd specially like to thank AJ and Mandy for their willingness to speak in public about their personal battles and for reading from their work. - Listen to the programme 'The Changes we Make' to find out more.

Thanks also to the BBC for their experiment in featuring local radio stations at the festival - it seems they were as pleased as we were and plan to do it again next year.
By the way, NE1fm was the only local station to broadcast live during the festival, so we were also very pleased about that.

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